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Customer Experience and Design

Looking Forward: Measuring Healthcare Quality

Compared to other nations, the United States has difficulty measuring up to some key areas related to health care quality. In terms of life expectancy, Docteur and Berenson (2009) contend that the United States has one of the lowest life expectancy rates and the highest mortality rate from conditions that could have been prevented. These disturbing statistics may be explained by the examining how the World Health Organization’s (WHO) and the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) “key components to achieving a high-quality healthcare system” fit into care rendered within the US.

According to the WHO and the IOM there are key components to delivering high-quality care, such as:
1. Safety,
2. Effectiveness,
3. Patient-centered,
4. Timeliness,
5. Efficient, and
6. Equitability.

If we accept that the WHO and IMO are correct, then we must ask did the HIT Act assist in improving healthcare quality? To answer this question we need two things: analytical tools and continuous patient data. Analytical tools are needed to focus on each key component deemed necessary to deliver high-quality care separately and then synthesize outcomes to provide a comprehensive illustration of actual patient outcomes. To illustrate patient outcomes, patient information must be shared amongst providers – hence EMRs and HIEs are a necessary element for all providers.

By integrating analytics with EMRs (and soon ICD-10), care rendered can be analyzed for quality from an outcome perspective. Each of the key components could be evaluated as criterion on a Provider Quality Scorecard and published and reported back to the appropriate healthcare agency. By doing this providers are given information about the care they are providing, organizations can evaluate what constraints within their system are affecting quality and govenment agencies can evaluate overall weaknesses and strengths within the healthcare system.

Provider Quality Scorecard





# of injured patients
# of staff injuries


Post-op care instructions
Pre-op options education


Follow up w PCP
Follow up visit


Discharges to LT care


Test Results
Staff timeliness




Is quality the future of healthcare in the US? Only time will tell how we will use our tools to cure the ailing healthcare system. However, the most important part is using them to provide much needed knowledge to providers and begin to the march patients, providers and healthcare organizations down their road to recovery.


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Amanda Buie

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